The Center For Debt Management
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Home Mortgage

If you are thinking about buying a house, especially your first one, you may have some basic questions about the home-financing process. The following answers may help.

There are two major types of mortgage loans — those with fixed interest rates and monthly payments and those with changing rates and payments. However, there are many variations of these plans on the market. You should shop carefully for the mortgage that best suits your needs.

Common fixed-rate mortgages include 30-year, 15-year, and
bi-weekly mortgages. The 30-year mortgage usually offers the lowest monthly payments of fixed-rate loans, with a fixed monthly payment schedule.

The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage enables you to own your home
in half the time and for less than half the total interest costs of a 30-year loan. These loans, however, often require higher monthly payments.

The bi-weekly mortgage shortens the loan term from 30 years to 18 to 19 years by requiring a payment for half the monthly amount every two weeks. While you pay about 8 percent more a year towards the loan's principal than you would with the 30-year, one-payment-per-month loan, you pay substantially less interest over the life of the loan. Keep in mind, however, that with shorter-term loans, you trade lower total costs for smaller mortgage interest deductions on your income tax.

Mortgages with changing interest rates and monthly payments exist in many forms. The adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) is probably the most common, and there are many types of ARM loans available. The ARM usually offers interest rates and monthly payments that are initially lower than fixed-rate mortgages. But these rates and payments can fluctuate, often annually, according to changes in a pre-determined "index" — commonly the rate of return on U.S. Government Treasury bills.

Some adjustable loans, for a fee, contain a provision permitting you to convert later to a fixed-rate loan. Another type of loan carries a fixed-interest rate for a number of years, often seven, before adjusting to a new interest rate for the remainder of the loan. A "buydown" or "discounted mortgage" is another type of loan with an initially reduced interest rate which increases to a higher fixed rate or to an adjustable rate usually within one to three years. For example, in a "lender buydown," the lender offers lower monthly payments during the first few years of the loan.

There are also many types of home loans. First mortgages, second mortgages, home equity lines of credit, reverse mortgages, FHA home loans, VA loan, interest only mortgages and other.

To learn more about home mortgages and the various types of home loans we invite you to explore our web site and read many of the articles located in most of our sectors.


Home Mortgage Articles

Home Mortgages: Understanding the Process

Looking For The Best Mortgage: Shop, Compare, Negotiate

Home Loans: How to Keep Costs from Going Through the Roof

Refinance or Modify Your Mortgage

What You Should Know About the Cost and Terms of Credit

Mortgage Payments Out of Control? Here's What to Do

Knee Deep in Debt? Self-Help Guide

Managing Your Debts: How to Regain Financial Health

Questions and Answers On Foreclosure and Debt Cancellation

Tips for Protecting Your Home From Foreclosure

Foreclosure Prevention Frequently Asked Questions

Foreclosure Rescue Scams: Stress for Homeowners in Distress

Home Ownership Preservation Loans

Consumer Alert: Mortgage Foreclosure Scams

More Options To Avoid Foreclosure

Guide To Understanding Foreclosure

Cosigning A Loan

Glossary of Financing and Credit Terms


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